Apparently, the trend in America to stop funding fossil fuel research and investments by US universities is catching on in the UK, as their universities are about to do the same.
To achieve a sustainable economy, developed and developing nations need to shake the petroleum habit.
If you had the choice, invest in clean coal technology in the magnitude of billions or invest in solar power generation, which is the better choice? In the long run, there is only one right choice and that is solar technology.
If you have vested interest in coal as many states do that still have the reserves buried in the Earth, you want to maximize the asset. That means, investing in technology to make its use cleaner will extend the life cycle.
However, extending the life cycle of fossil fuels, only postpones the inevitable circumstance of exhausting supply.
Is it necessary to transition to renewable energy by extending the use of fossil fuels, including fracking to mine natural gas, for instance? Or, is it better that scarce capital be committed to renewable energy development at once?
Those decisions are economic and political. Determining the rate of transformation is non-trivial. Dropping the pursuit of investment carbon-producing fuels is a major decision as it should alternatively commit more investment into renewable energy.
The Guardian-Observer calls it the “deinvestment campaign”, and that sounds like a good idea.
“UK universities urged to pull cash from fossil fuel giants
Anti-carbon divestment campaign targets £5bn of British funds
The Observer, Saturday 26 October 2013 17.25 EDT
An international campaign to urge large institutions to dump fossil fuel investments reaches the UK this week, following rapid success in the US.
The year-old divestment campaign, Fossil Free, has grown even faster than similar efforts that once targeted apartheid, tobacco and arms manufacturers. It now aims to focus attention on the £5bn invested in coal, oil and gas by the endowment funds of UK universities. The move comes as financial giants such as HSBC, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs are starting to take seriously the prospect that global action to reduce carbon emissions could leave two-thirds of the world's proven fossil fuel reserves unburnable and worthless.
"The divestment campaign will start politically to bankrupt the fossil fuel industry and throw into stronger relief that it is a rogue industry, committed to burning more carbon than any government on Earth thinks it would be safe to burn," said Bill McKibben, a prominent US climate campaigner and figurehead of the Fossil Free campaign. "One reason we are losing the battle against climate change – the most important challenge humans have faced – is the power of the fossil fuel industry to block change," he told the Observer. "It is the richest industry in the history of human enterprise."